T’is the season to fret over gift ideas! Coming up with presents that are both unique and meaningful for your loved ones is no easy feat. Well-intentioned, but impractical gifts (like croquet sets and obscure novelty mugs) often go unused. This holiday season, rather than contribute to unwanted clutter, why not gift your loved ones something experiential instead of material? Instead of speculating on someone’s shirt size, or worse, gifting another generic Christmas basket—the kind teeming with nougat and fruitcake—consider investing in a cooking class or an outdoor adventure, for your nearest and dearest!
This edition of Friday Favourites features a list of unique and exciting activities, to help guide you in gifting experiences as opposed to “stuff” this holiday. Although stuff can be good too, particularly if it’s useful. Like socks. Socks are awesome.
*I’ve included links to different guided tours and instructor-led sessions that I’ve experienced here in Calgary, Alberta, and know firsthand to be top-notch!
Passes And Annual Memberships
Whether it’s to the city zoo, aquarium, art gallery, museum, or science centre, investing in a handful of passes or an annual membership is a versatile gift that keeps on giving. This is particularly true of attractions, such as museums and art galleries, where featured exhibits rotate throughout the year, and there are new displays to be seen every few months. It’s also a great gift idea if you’re searching for a family-sized option suitable to all ages.
Theatre And Orchestra Tickets
Theatre and orchestra tickets make for great gift options, and also help to support your local arts community. Many orchestra and theatre companies do a wonderful job of curating a diverse range of performances that appeal to a broad audience. Whether it’s a classical showcase, featuring compositions by Beethoven or Brahms, or a symphonic tribute to Prince or the Star Wars franchise, there undoubtedly will be a performance that appeals to your loved one. Unless they loathe the performing arts in general, in which case, opt for a zoo pass. Or socks.
Camping And Hiking Supplies
Sometimes a material gift can lead to an experience. Purchasing camping or hiking supplies can be a great way to equip someone with the essentials necessary to explore the great outdoors. In the past, I’ve purchased a hiking bag and tossed in a few fundamentals, inlcluding a waterbottle, trail guide, compass, first aid kit, and provincial park pass, to help cover the basics for a loved one to embark on adventure.
Enrol Them In A Class, Any Class
Do you have a friend or family member who’s expressed an interest in honing their cooking skills or learning the basics of how to sew? Or who wants to develop their artistic abilities by taking a photography, knitting, painting, pottery, or scrapbooking course? Or who’s keen to amp up their active lifestyle, by attending a few kick-boxing, spin, rock-climbing, self-defense, barre, or yoga classes? Take the initiative and sign them up! Better yet, sign yourself up too and participate in an activity together.
If your friend’s availability is a little unclear, opt for a more flexible alternative. I once purchased a friend a punch card valid for six pilates classes, which she could use at her convenience. Purchasing a full course can be pricey. If you’re looking for a more cost-efficient alternative, consider paying the initial fee for a couple drop-in classes, along with a few essentials to get your friend or family member started in their new endeavor.
Invest In An Adventure
If your loved one is a bit of a risk-taker, consider investing in an adventure on their behalf. Whether it’s a gift certificate to go hang gliding, zip-lining, rafting, stunt driving, bungee jumping, skydiving, or to venture on a guided hiking, snowshoeing, or dog-sledding tour—there are countless exciting options available for an adrenaline-inducing gift.
Opt For The Unconventional
The real fun and charm of gifting an experience is that you’re exposing someone to something new. If you’re in search of an activity that is truly unique, there are plenty of unorthodox gifts to consider. To name a few, a hot air balloon ride, floatation therapy session, or psychic reading rank high on my list of recommendations.
Food, Wine, Brewery, And Roasterie Tours
That wraps up the Holiday Edition of Friday Favourites! If these recommended experiences are more likely to appear in your loved one’s nightmares as opposed to on their wish list, just remember, when all else fails, give the gift of socks.